How to Rank Higher For a Specific iOS App Keyword

How to Rank Higher For a Specific iOS App Keyword

magnifierAlright, we have heard this so many times, right? You want your app to rank higher for a specific keyword? If so, you have come to the right place. Obviously there are some “juicy” keywords on the App Store and if you could rank in the top 10 for such keywords that would probably mean a lot of free traffic for your app. Some of the most frequent questions that I am getting from publishers are: “Would adding the same keywords multiple times help”? “Would using both – plural and singular keywords help”? The post below will give you the answer. However, I will start by saying that if you are trying to rank for specific keywords on the App Store, you are taking totally wrong approach to App Store Optimization (ASO).

The SEO and ASO Relation 

Before we go any deeper explaining you why you are taking the wrong approach to App Store Optimization (ASO) let’s take a quick look at Search Engine Optimization (SEO) background. Since App Store Optimization (ASO) is still young and evolving field most of the people are more experienced with Search Engine OptimIzation (SEO). As you probably know Search Engine Optimization or SEO is the process of optimizing web pages to rank higher for terms that people search for on search engines. The rank of a page in search engines such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo can be improved through linking, adding meta tags, tagging images, adding related terms to the page, etc…

When people searching for apps on the Apple App Store shouldn’t the process of getting the app ranked for keywords be similar? It may seem logical but the answer is no because the way that App Store mechanics works is quite different. In the text below I will explain you this more in depth but for now I just want you to understand that the process is different.

How Apple Determines the Rank of Keywords

Basically there are two fields where you can tell Apple what your app is about. Your app title and the 100 characters keywords field. That’s it! You are not allowed to use any back-linking, tagging images, adding meta tags or anything else. Apple cares about two things only – your app title and keywords field. Since nobody really knows how Apple’s algorithm works (except a few people employed in Apple) once you put your keywords into those fields your search visibility is at the mercy of the algorithm thus trying to rank for specific keywords does not make any sense and it’s almost impossible.


Instead of trying to rank for a specific keyword you should be more focused on finding relevant keywords that your app can rank well for. The number of downloads your app is getting as well as the number of positive reviews will be major determining factors in where your app ranks for its keywords. Normally if your app already gets a lot of downloads you will want to target more difficult keywords which usually brings more traffic to an app. If your app does not get a lot of downloads you will want to target less difficult keywords until you get enough downloads to start ranking for more difficult keywords.


Trying to rank higher for specific keywords is waste of time and does not make any sense. The only way you can rank well in search and generate more organic downloads is to keep optimizing your keyword list until you get in the top 10 for each targeted keyword. This is a time consuming process which requires continual optimization but it’s worth the effort! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Ibrahim Eminovic

Ibrahim Eminovic

Over 5 years in app industry educated by Chad Mureta and Trey Smith. Love making iOS apps visible on the App Store. When not doing ASO love cycling, blogging, playing around with Xcode and re-skinning iOS apps.
Ibrahim Eminovic